THE ROLE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN CRISIS MANAGEMENT AT THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT. (A STUDY OF ALIMONSHO AGBADO OKE-ODO LCDA, LAGOS STATE.)

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ABSTRACT

Public relations have shown tremendous growth in recent years worldwide and it growth is attributed to numerous reasons particularly in crisis management/prevention in many organizations either public or private at all levels. Organized public relations are capable of yielding a lot of benefits to local government administrators in Nigeria. This will enable them to successfully mobilize the rural dwellers and achieve mass education of the people at the grass roots. Generally, this study will benefit many public administrators at all levels of discharging their duties, by giving insight toward effective and efficient which public relations as a tool of enhancement good govornance, toward negotiate with the publics to resolve and prevent crises,  and to promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and the publics. The survey research method would be adopted. The questionnaire was used as instrument of data collection. The population of this study is the entire employees of Alimonsho Agbado Oke Odo LCDA, Lagos State which are 500 employees. Probability sampling method which is also known as ‘random sampling’ was adopted for this researh work. Both primary data and secondary data were used. The statistical techniques used in this research work, to analysis data are Percentage method with chi-square statistical techniques used to test hypothesis concerning the test of goodness of fit, between a sample of observed frequencies and a corresponding sample of expected frequencies. From the analysis of the research data it can be seen that public relations play a huge part in the life of any establishment, be it government or private. From the finding, the researcher observed that there are some factors hampering the effective use of public relations practice for grassroot development. It is therefore strongly recommended that local governance should be geared towards a more effective utilization of public relations measures.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pages

 

Title Page                                                                                                                                       i

Certification                                                                                                                                  ii

Dedication                                                                                                                                     iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                                        iv

Abstract                                                                                                                                         v

Table of Contents                                                                                                                         vi

 

CHAPTER ONE      

Introduction                                                                                         

1.1            Background to the study                                                                                                 1

1.2            Statement of the problems                                                                                 2

1.3            The main Objectives of the study                                                                     3

1.4            Research questions                                                                                                           3

1.5            Hypotheses                                                                                                           4

1.6            Significance of the study                                                                                                 4

1.7            Scope and limitation of the study                                                                     6

1.8            Operational  terms                                                                                                            7

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

Literature Review                                                                                                                       9

2.1       Historical development of public relations in Nigerian                                               9

2.2       Public relations in Public and Private Sectors                                                              11

2.3       Meaning of Public relations                                                                                            13

2.4       Roles of Public Relations                                                                                                16

2.5       Relationship between public relations and public administration                                          18

2.5.1    Role of Public Relations in Crisis management                                                            21

2.6       Meaning of Crisis                                                                                                             24

2.6.1    Crisis Management                                                                                                          26

2.7       Theoritical framework                                                                                                     28

2.8       Brief History of Agbado oko-odo LCDA                                                                      31

2.9       Factors restrict the effective practice of PR as tool for Crisis Magt at grassroot             35.                               

CHAPTER THREE

Research Methods                                                                                                                      38

3.1       Preamble                                                                                                                           38

3.2       Research Design                                                                                                               38

3.3       Study Population                                                                                                             39

3.4       Sample size and sampling technique                                                                             39

3.5       Research instrument                                                                                                        42

3.6       Sources and collection of data                                                                                        43

3.7       Statistical method of analysis                                                                                        44

 

CHAPTER FOUR

Data Analysis And Presentation                                                                                             46

4.1       Preamble                                                                                                                           46

4.2       Presentation and analysis of respondent’s data                                               47

4.3       Presentation and analysis of relevant research data                                         50 

4.4       Test of hypotheseses                                                                                           57

4.4.1    Test of hypothesis one                                                                                                     57

4.3.2    Test of hypothesis Two                                                                                                   59                                              

4.4       Discussion of research findings                                                                                      61

CHAPTER FIVE     

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations                                                                    63

5.1       Summary of research findings                                                                                        63         

5.2       Conclusion                                                                                                                       64  

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                                           65

References                                                                                                                                     67

Appendix                                                                                                                                       72

                                                                                    

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1       Background of the Study

Public relations have shown tremendous growth in recent years worldwide and it growth is attributed to numerous reasons particularly in crisis management/prevention in many organizations either public or private at any level. Let us assumed, crises are large or small unexpected serious negative developments. They are likely to create instant lawlessness, regardless of how well your organization is managed under normal business conditions. Public relations in Nigeria have come a long way, especially in the post-independence era, where there has been significant development in government public relations activities. Public relations exist in every activity, which involves human beings, even where it is an individual activity. Thus, in addition to reinforcing the universality of public relations, Nwosu (cited in Asemah et al 2012) went on to spell out its usefulness to governments in contemporary societies, which are democratic and need the consent, support and mutual understanding of their people, for better administration. It is in the light of that relationship that public relations practitioners in government see themselves as the linking bridge between government and civil society.

Since 1976, when local government reforms were carried out in Nigeria, the local governments have always had to contend with greater responsibility placed on their shoulders than ever before. Among other things, the guidelines of the reforms demanded the performance of numerous functions from the local government. In fact, public relations ought to be compulsory for the local government administration in Nigeria. Also Public relation could  be applied to any level of government for effective and efficient governance. Perhaps, the local government should make public relations principles and procedures, their major components of governance, especially at the grass root level, where the actions of government touch the lives of the citizens most deeply. Organized public relations are capable of yielding a lot of benefits to local government administrators in Nigeria. This will enable them to successfully mobilize the rural dwellers and achieve mass education of the people at the grass roots. Thus the local government can greatly benefit from public relations activities cannot be over-emphasized.

 

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Every organization whether government or non-governmental organization, the concept of public relations remain largely misconceived by many people involved in its practice. Some believe that public relations are publicity given to political aspirants, business executives, etc.; others think that public relations is a series of gifts for journalist, prospective supporters, etc., Some think that it is a means of gaining coverage. The result of this array of misconception is a lopsided perception of what actually connotes public relations. In the government circles, due to these misconceptions, public relations officers are often treated as errand people also inferior work force that must top the list of those to be terminated from service whenever the need arises.

Local governments are said to employ public relations effort through their information offices. (Field work, July 2019.) However, how far these public relations activities are performed by these offices remain speculative, abstract and uncertain in planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. The present dispensation in the local government settings by observation shows that personal assistants to local government chairmen takeover the functions of public relations unit of such local government areas. The present local government structure in Nigeria really shows that the information officers are vested with discharging the functions of public relations. But the question of how adequately organized and how well these information officers are placed to perform their tasks for enhanced governance toward negotiating with the publics to resolve, manage, prevent crises and to promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and the publics is the problem, this study investigates. Asemah and Asogwa (2012).

 

1.3       Aim and Objectives of the Study

This study aim at examining the role of public relations in crisis management at the local government. Other objectives are to:

i.                  Identify the effectiveness of labour relation on crisis management at the local government levels

ii.                Determine the extent to which public relations affecting crisis management at local government levels.

iii.              Assess factors militating against public relations and crisis management at the local government levels.

 

 

1.4       Reseach Questions

Based on the problems and the objectives of the study, the study seeks to answer the following questions:

a.      Is there any significant relationship between labour relation and crisis management in Alimonsho Agbado Oke Odo LCDA Oja Oba Lagos State?

b.     To what extent do public relations affect crisis management at local government levels?

 

 

1.5       Statement of Hypotheses

Kerlinger (1973) pointed out, a problem is just a question usually of a broad nature and it is not directly testable. What is testable is the hypothesis implied by the question. Hypothesis to be test for the purpose of this research work are following :

1.     H0::      There is no significant relationship between labour relation and crisis management in Alimonsho Agbado Oke Odo LCDA Oja Oba Lagos State.

     H1:        There is significant relationship between labour relation and crisis management in Alimonsho Agbado Oke Odo LCDA Oja Oba Lagos State.

2.     H0::      Public relations is not significantly related to crisis management/prevention in organization.

H1:       Public relations is significantly related to crisis management/prevention in organization.

 

1.6           Significance of the Study

 Generally, this study will benefit many public administrators at all levels of discharging their duties, by giving insight toward effective and efficient which public relations as a tool of enhancement good govornance, toward negotiate with the publics to resolve and prevent crises,  and to promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and the publics.

Particularly, this work will giving insight toward some public relations strategies that can be used for resolving and preventing crisis at grassroot such as:

·       CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Corporate social responsibility emphasises the need for every organisation, including government, to be sensitive to the needs and interests of the members of the society or community in which they exist and operate, as a way of eliciting and keeping their goodwill and support. It is social investment or involvement philosophy that helps any social institution or organisation (plus government), to avoid taking decisions or actions that may make it to be seen by its target publics as uncaring or insensitive to their needs and interest. Nwosu 1996 (cited in asemah et al 2012) says that corporate social responsibility is the intelligent and objective concern for the welfare of people and society, which restraints individuals and corporate entities (government) from engaging in policies and activities, no matter how profitable or attractive that will portray them as callus and engaging in activities that will contribute to the betterment of men and society. According to the UN Committee for Economic Development (CED), cited in Asemah (2010), a good corporate social responsibility programme usually focuses on some or all of these areas: Economic growth and efficiency, education, employment and training, human rights and equal opportunity, rural/urban renewal and development, pollution abatement, conservation and recreation, culture and arts, medical care and other government activities.

·       POLICY MAKING AND POLICY COMMUNICATION: A PR Practitioner is a link between his institution and the publics. He or she is responsible for setting public relations policy to represent the corporation or agency to the publics and for conducting research to provide adequate feedback from the publics to the institution. Usually, a PR practitioner works closely with top level management and is instrumental in influencing management’s policy changes. The PR person can be described as a strategist who plans and executes large scale public relations efforts. It is the duty of the public relations practitioners of an organisation to communicate the policies of its organisation to the internal and external publics, so as to make them know such policies.

·       RESPONSIVE CONTINUOUS COMMUNICATION: Communication is an ongoing and never ending thing. It may beginning by you or before you but nor ending. It is a process that goes on endlessly, none stop. That is why when there is any break in communication, rumours, guessing and presumptions fill up the gap. This kind of situation creates a lapse, which results in misunderstanding, because communication has broken down. Local government administrators must never allow communication to breakdown. They must flow along with crucial stakeholders, such as community people, if  administration must prosper  unhindered. A responsive communication is one that is quick, sound and credible and flow two-way in a cyclical manner (Zorte, 2011).

·       RESEARCH:  Research is very important in public relations. It is an activity that is aimed at obtaining facts about the feelings of the publics of an organisation. The data obtained from research is used as a yardstick for taking decision. Environmental scanning maybe described as the process of monitoring immediate and larger environment of an organization with a view to detecting issues or developments that affect an organization’s operations so as to effectively address them.  It could be developments within the organisation or outside the organisation in the host community, the local government area, state or national level or the international level. Trend analysis involves critically examining issues and developments in the society to find out their implications to an organisation in order to advise management what steps to take.

Finally,  it will serves as a starting point for other researchers who will be interested in the subject of this research, it will also be beneficial to communities and public relations experts as more knowledge has been gained from the research.

 

1.7       Scope and Limitations of the Study

The scope of this research work, expected to be all local government in Lagos State, Nigeria. However, due to the constraint of time within which this project must be submitted, a sample of Alimonsho Agbado Oke Odo LCDA Oja Oba, Lagos State only shall be used for the research work.  Furthermore, the research work has limited time within which to carry out this task among other academic assignment. It has therefore become unrealistic to sample all organizations maybe concerned.

Financial constraints have also forced the researcher to limit the scope of this research work to Alimonsho Agbado Oke Odo LCDA Oja Oba, Lagos State. Also indifference attitude of respondents. Some of the respondents exhibited some form of lackadaisical attitude in completing the questionnaires. However, the researcher believe that this on long run, will open a wider area for other researcher to do a thorough work on other   levels of government such as state and federal government ministries, department and agencies.

 

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

Role: Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary International Student’s New 8th Edition (2015) The function or position that something has or is expected to have in an organization, in soceiety or in a relationship. Duty, function, value and benefit.

Public Relations: According to Asmah and Asogwa (2012) Public relations in government in brief, is the coordinated efforts of the government officials to establish appropriate and effective communication system that enables them to produce, project and sustain government’s goals, aspirations, programmes, activities and policies to reach the ultimate beneficiaries of the programmes, in most cases, the community. 

Publics: Nwosu ( Cited by Asmah & Asogwa 2012) says that: Whether military or civilian, government must have the support and acceptance of the citizenry to be effective and to even survive for a reasonable period. In theory and in practice, every government derives its legitimacy or rights to govern from the people or citizens. In a true democracy, government is voted in by the people to hold power, influence and control on behalf of the collectivity, the masses or citizenry. Publics according to Creative Commons (2012) any group(s) of people held together by a common interest.

Crisis: crisis may be defined as any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt business, damage reputation or negatively impact share value. (Bernstein L. Jonathan, 2010) A ″crisis″ is when something bad, unwanted, or terrible happens. (Crisis Management, 2009). Publicly Available Specification (PAS)2011 Crisis management. Guidance and good practice, recently published by the British Standards Institution, is a practical guide to establishing good practice on crisis management. Defines a crisis as an “inherently abnormal, unstable and complex situation that represents a threat to the strategic objectives, reputation or existence of an organization.

Crisis Management: It is managing the flow of information between the organisation and the publics, via the mass media and by advising management on what to do and how to do it, so that the crisis is not aggravated. (Asemah, 2011).

Local Government:  The Nigeria local government reform document of 1976 ( Iyabo Olojede & Salami Afegbua 2011) defines local government as: Government at  local level exercised by representative council, establishment by law to exercise specific power within define areas.

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